Real estate agents can keep clients informed about a changing market without buying into doomsday proclamations, three top brokers argued on Thursday at Inman Connect Now.

In a shifting real estate market, the guidance and expertise that Inman imparts are never more valuable. At Inman Connect, our how-to journalism is brought to life to help you build your business, adopt the right tools — and make money. Join us today virtually for Connect Now and in person in August at Inman Connect Las Vegas for all the information you need to make the right decisions. When the waters get choppy, trust Inman to help you navigate.

The housing market is tilting in a new direction, and Cindi Hagley is hearing increasingly loud proclamations from real estate agents about how things could go south.

It’s a confusing tactic from a business standpoint, the Bay Area real estate broker said.

“We also have a lot of doomsdayers in our market, saying, ‘Oh, real estate’s going to crash,’ ‘Why would you buy,’ and, ‘I would hold off on selling,’” Hagley said.

“Why do we do this to ourselves? We don’t need to.”

Hagley, who was speaking as part of a virtual Inman Connect Now panel, discussed how to communicate with clients with two other top real estate professionals: Katie Kossev, of the Kossev Group in Houston, and founding agent Jessica Northrop, of Compass Denver.

All three agreed on a few key points: Clients are entering the homebuying process with some level of concern about the state of the market. For many of these clients, buying remains a good idea. And it’s an agent’s job to coach them through what this moment in real estate means for their search.

“I’m not worried, but that doesn’t mean that our clients aren’t,” Kossev said.

Mortgage rates — now hovering around 6 percent on average — still aren’t particularly high compared to what Kossev has seen over most of her career. 

Still, the fact rates have more than doubled in the span of a few months has spooked buyers, especially as prices continued to climb. 

Kossev tells clients she thinks rates won’t stay here forever. If rates drop again, homeowners can refinance their loans later and secure a more favorable payment.

In Northrop’s opinion, some of the changes underway in this uncertainty-laden environment are likely to be welcome to buyers.

“It feels a lot like the summer of 2020 when there was a lot of uncertainty in the world, and a lot of questions,” Northrop said. “I can’t fully predict, but it kind of feels that way, that we’re going to see inventory continue to build.”

Northrop is seeing a subset of buyers re-enter the market, who had paused their home searches due to high levels of competition in previous months. 

In Colorado, where Northrop works, the dynamics between buyers and sellers are already starting to shift. Homes that were previously sold quickly at premium asking prices are now requiring a bit more finesse from the listing agent.

“We’re not in a premium-plus market anymore,” Northrop said. “We’re in a data-driven, ‘What did the last home sell for,’ and being priced at that, or maybe slightly below, to drive interest.”

As the number of sales continues to decline and home price growth begins to moderate, agents may be tempted to offer lower commissions to attract clients.

For most agents, that’s a mistake, Hagley believes.

Not only does it hurt an agent’s bottom line, but also sends the wrong message to the client about the agent’s confidence in their own skillset, she said.

“If you’re going to try to get me to take a discount commission, I’m not going to take it,” Hagley said. “Because once you find an agent who does that … chances are you’ve found an agent who doesn’t know how to negotiate.”

Instead of undercutting the competition’s prices, Hagley said she and her team are up front with new clients about the fact that they’re not going to be the cheapest option. 

They come prepared with examples of good deals they’ve gotten for clients, with an emphasis on what they’ve netted their customers at the end of a transaction.

And if that doesn’t sway the potential client, it’s probably a sign that it’s not a good fit, she said.

“Go in with confidence, know who you are, … pay the other side a fair commission, and have a smooth closing,” Hagley said.

Email Daniel Houston

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription